Internet of Things (IoT) has a large role to play in the future of smart cities. IoT can be used in practically all scenarios for public services by governments to make cities environment friendly. Sensor-enabled devices can help monitor the environmental impact on cities, collect details about sewers, air quality, and garbage. Such devices can also help monitor woods, rivers, lakes and oceans. Many environmental trends are so complex that they are difficult to conceptualise. IoT is a recent communication paradigm that envisions a near future, in which the objects of everyday life will be equipped with micro-controllers, transceivers for digital communication, and suitable protocol stacks that will enable them to communicate not only with one another but also the users, becoming an integral part of the internet and the environment. IoT environmental monitoring applications usually use sensors to lend a hand in environmental protection by monitoring air or water quality, atmospheric or soil conditions, and can even include areas like monitoring the movements of wildlife and their habitats.
An urban IoT platform can provide means to monitor the quality of the air in crowded areas, parks, or fitness trails. From real time monitoring of water quality in the ocean through sensors connected to a buoy that sends information via the GPRS network, to the monitoring of goods being shipped around the world, and smart power grids that create conditions for more rational production, planning and consumption can all be achieved via microchips implanted in objects that communicate with each other.
Some applications related to the IoT aren’t new: toll collection tags, security access key cards, devices to track stolen cars and various types of identity tags for retail goods and livestock. Other monitoring and tracking systems have more business uses such as solving or averting problems like sending a cellphone alert to drivers that traffic is backed up at a particular exit ramp, and increasing efficiencies such as enabling a utility to remotely switch off an electric meter in a just-vacated apartment. ICT empowered atmosphere relief procedures could diminish worldwide environmental change 16.5% by 2020 contrasted with current endeavours.
For India’s Smart City programme to flourish, waste management would play a very important role. In the current scenario, waste management process is in shambles and government is struggling to find ways for eco-friendly disposal. IoT solutions and devices for waste management revolves around two main benefits: determining the best time to collect waste and figuring out what route trucks should follow. These two advantages can reduce the time it takes to address potential waste build-up problems. In waste disposal, technologies like IoT can help the city administration in controlling the amount of waste disposed at regular intervals thereby avoiding build up and using the end residue for other developmental activities like road building or supplying residue gas to power stations, etc.
In a few years time, water would be the most precious commodity in India. It would be more expensive than oil and gold. In India, over 70% of the population is employed in agriculture; water management is extremely crucial as water is a scarce commodity. Water management and precision agriculture should almost always be discussed together for a number of reasons. The deployment of sensors and actuators provides farmers with increased visibility over their operation, allowing them to optimise water usage and minimise waste by assessing a number of metrics including temperature, water pressure and quality. IoT-enabled water management can also be done on a consumer-level with the installation of smart water sensors in homes and apartments. Those devices, combined with data analytics, can give residents more visibility into the amount of water they use, potentially saving money and conserving this precious resource.
Deforestation is another issue that is impacting not only India but the global environment. Here in drone technology has been used to prevent and fight forest fires, they are also now part of an initiative started by BioCarbon Engineering to replant 1 billion trees lost from deforestation. Currently, more than 6.5 billion trees are lost each year due to human activities and natural disasters, according to the company. IoT is an eco-friendly technology which benefits not only the environment but mankind as whole.
By Ashish Gulati
The writer is country head, Telit India